Preparing My Canadian Immigrant Application – Settlement Funds

I’m not sure how relevant this part will be to Express Entry applications because the EE process is different from the one I went through. But I do want to talk about the first part of preparation for filing my application to Canada – the funds.

In order to apply to migrate, one must show proof of funds. This isn’t just your show money. It’s what you actually need to survive in Canada while you’re looking for a job or getting settled in.  It differs every year and the best place to check how much you need is http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/funds.asp.

My friends will attest to how I’m always the one they need to treat out, that I’m always the one on a tight budget, for one reason or another. So to be able to have that kind of amount, would truly be a miracle for me, and to be able to raise it in that amount of time.

I would outline my budget, day in and day out, and no matter how much I rearranged things, I just would not have enough money. I took on part time jobs, yet I knew I would still fall way short. But the good Lord impressed on James 2:17 “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

He said, “Step out in faith, do what you need to do (like taking part time jobs), and I will fill what you lack”.

One particularly anxious time, I did devotions and He reminded me of the time when He asked me to give in my lack, when I was raising support funds for my short term mission trip. I cried out to Him that I wanted to feel that kind of confidence again, to give in lack, as the widow at the temple did.

Mark 12:41-44

The Widow’s Offering

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.[a] 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Then, while I was praying for friends who were going on a short term mission, He impressed that I support the mission trip of one friend. Not just a percentage, but the whole trip.

I thought it was a mistake, because He obviously knew that I was still way below my targeted funds. I decided that it was a mistake, went to church, and met this same friend God wanted me to support. Friend told me that there was a huge chance that he was not going to go on the mission trip because he needed to give his business and his work (he was fully employed) 100% of his attention. That meant that he could not meet with prospective partners to present the cause to them (short term missioners raise their mission fund expenses by casting the vision to others, where, in turn, those others can also be part of doing God’s work)

It suddenly became clear to me that God asking me to support this friend was not a mistake. Because if I supported this friend, he wouldn’t have to worry about presenting to people and at the same time, he could focus on his business, work and go on the mission trip. Yet, I disobeyed (delayed obedience is still disobedience) and thought to myself, “I’ll pray about it a little bit more because I might have heard wrong”.

But, later on, He reminded me so clearly that I could not concentrate on what I was doing (driving) and I had this intense urge to make the commitment. So I texted my friend right then and there to tell him what God had told me to do.

It was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do. I needed that money so much, but I also knew better than to disobey the Lord. And I loved that feeling of hearing so clearly from God and knowing that He is control.

At the time, I had heard from someone that when you give in faith, God gives it back tenfold. I can’t find “tenfold” in the Bible (all that there is is hundredfold, thirtyfold) but at the end of my deadline for the funds, I had more than tenfold of what I gave.

Luke 6:38ESV

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Mind you, I was practical. I took a second job, worked hard at my full time job, cut down on expenses, friends blessed me by treating me so that I wouldn’t have to spend unnecessarily, I stuck to a very strict budget. This was me being a good steward of God’s blessings. Despite all this, by my might, I was still far short of my required funds. But by deadline, He gave more than enough that I was able to purchase extra baggage allowance and enjoy my last few days with friends. I was even able to treat a few close friends as a symbol of my gratitude for all their support.

What’s my point? I didn’t write this to brag that I supported a missionary’s trip. I want to make that clear. But that part was essential in telling the whole story. What I wanted to do was glorify God. That if it is His will, then it is His bill. That He challenges us to step out in faith because He is faithful. And His miracles become testimonies that encourage and edify others. And I wanted to encourage others that nothing is impossible with the Lord. That when you walk with Him and strive to hear His voice all the time, He will bless you and protect you.

There was NO WAY I could’ve met the fund requirements on my own. ABSOLUTELY no way, especially in that short time span. It was all Him. Because His promise to me was:

Deuteronomy 28:8ESV 

The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Other things I learned was that to always choose to be generous, that you can never out give God. Make it a priority to try and partner His cause, to support someone doing God’s work.

This said, at the same time, try to also bless people who aren’t doing God’s work yet. Bless people who aren’t Christians so that they get to experience God’s grace and faithfulness.

Lastly, that when He wills for you to be somewhere, and you obey, there’s no stopping you, Him and His plans. Mountains will be moved, doors will remain propped open.

More on His faithfulness to my Canada migration in the next blog. Maybe my next topic will be Max. 🙂

Canada’s First Seed in My Heart

People ask me why I migrated to Canada and the story is a little long. I’ll try to keep it short, as today, people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. They also need lots of pictures to look at when reading something lengthy so I will relent and put lots of photos in this post. Lol.

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via GIPHY

Heartbreak Into Breakthrough

It started with heartbreak. They say that travel helps the heart heal, so I booked a last minute trip to Singapore (read about that trip here). It was my first out-of-the-country trip as an adult and by myself, and it opened my eyes to the huge, diverse world.

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I then took a trip to Japan shortly after (read about that here) and I came home with a desire to live somewhere else. I researched on what choices I had, found that Australia was not very easy to migrate to (plus I didn’t know anyone there at the time). Canada and New Zealand were my only options. I figured, Canada would be a good choice because it is in North America, and I had relatives living in the United States, in case I needed help. Plus, growing up in Cali, I figured the culture would be similar (boy was I very wrong about that. Canadians are very different from Americans, in a very very good way – no offence to my American friends).

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So I checked their occupations list and found that my occupation was nowhere near any of those listed. The closest would have to be Social Work, but I knew it would take ages before I could migrate using that path (4 years of school plus one more year of work experience). But, I jumped in anyway after much prayer, knowing that nothing is impossible with God. At that time, God had impressed to me that I needed to take a step of faith. There was that opening, albeit very tiny, and I needed to take action. He would do the rest. So I enrolled in the University of the Philippines as my first step of faith towards Canada and started classes in November.

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I am not a patient person but at the time, I was learning to wait on God. I knew it was going to be a long journey, but anything worth it will take time and effort. “The Old and New Testaments affirm that God’s purposes and God’s glory rarely come easily” – Proverbs31 Ministries

But, God’s timing was different. I received a forwarded message from my friend Myra (who lives in Canada) for a seminar with Devry Smith Frank LLP. However, the seminar got moved to the same weekend as my Victory Weekend (a retreat where you learn about Christ and commit yourself to him). Of course, I knew I had to put God first. Even if I missed out on this seminar, which was very important to me, He would pave the way because I had put Him first (and proof of that is that I’m now residing in Canada).

A few months later, I received an email from the same law firm saying that my occupation is now on the list (when registering for the seminar, you had to declare your occupation) of workers needed in Canada.

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To me, this was such a huge miracle because what were the chances that my occupation (Communications) would be on that list?! English-speaking countries don’t usually need people like me. Countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand usually look for trades people or professions that are highly technical such as engineers, doctors, lab technicians, nurses, and the like.

And that was my first Canada miracle. I no longer had to wait 5 years to start applying for migration, because I could do that then and there.

Next blog…Preparing My Canadian Immigrant Application

Intro – Journey to Canada

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My last post was about 2-3 years ago. That’s because during that time, I was busy with migration preps. I wanted to write about my journey, in hopes of helping others with theirs too, just like Pinoys To Canada helped me. It was a looooong and tiring journey, but definitely worth it. It was a journey taken with God at the helm, and I would not trade all the anxiety, worries and stress for anything at all.

I witnessed more of God’s miracles, which helped me feel closer to Him. Yes, because of the blessings He showered upon me, but most importantly, because it was a time of pruning and faith-building.

I’m excited to re-live my journey to Canada through here, and remember how His promise came to pass exactly the way He told me it would.

 

Psalm 16:5-6

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
    You guard all that is mine.
The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
    What a wonderful inheritance!

 

 

Bond and dine with your barkers at Whole Pet Kitchen

I have not blogged in a long time because there hasn’t really been much to blog about. But, today, I feel like it’s important to share my  Whole Pet Kitchen experience. I’ve long patronized WPK products, because they are healthy for dogs and made with human-grade ingredients. When I learned that the owner, Giannina Gonzalez (who also happens to be a distant cousin), was opening a pet barkery, I was ecstatic. I haven’t really been able to take Max out much lately, and I always feel so guilty that I don’t get to spend more time with him. But now that there is an actual restaurant that serves food for humans and dogs alike, well, by golly, I am blown away. I look forward to study dates with Max by my side. 

Off we go to have lunch at Whole Pet Kitchen.

Notice that Max is also strapped in. Safety first!


We picked up Anne and Carl and here, Max and Carl meet for the first time. Even if they were in the same car for about 20 minutes, they were completely oblivious to each other. 
 


 Yay, I’ve been wanting to meet Mr. Jack the Golden Retriever for the longest time! It was a real pleasure, Mr. Jack. 



There’s a menu for hoomans and another one for pets. 

 While waiting for our food, we met Philip, one of the most handsome pugs I’ve ever seen. 

 Mr. Philip on the pup sofa. 

This citrus cooler was delish! 

The pet and hooman desert display. 

Max and I decided to have matching lunches. The chef is the daughter of THE Chef Gene Gonzalez, owner of Cafe Ysabel, so it’s no surprise that this lasagna was dee-lish. Talent truly runs in the family. In this case, anyway. Lasagna is priced at a little over 200. 

We wanted to wait for our furbabies’ food but Giannina advised that we eat ours before their arrive because once it does, we won’t be able to eat anymore. She was soooo right. We were too busy fussing over our little furballs that it took our focus away from our food. 

 Poch ordered the Porkballs and Pickles Sammie. I’m not sure if that’s what it’s EXACTLY called, but lemme tell you, this sandwich was mmm-mmm good. Next time, I’m gonna order that. 

Here is Max’s lasagna!!! I tasted it and it was actually pretty good! The meat is liver and I’m a fan, so I enjoyed it. Kinda made me feel like I was eating extra healthy. Haha. Almost had to stop myself from finishing his food. This was about P78. Comes with a bowl of water. 

 “Hmmm. What is this sumptous looking thing,” says Maximo. 

 Other wares on display. The muffins are really the best take-home treats for your dogs. 

 Mr. Jack is happy to see me!

 Okay, now he doesn’t look too happy, after all that smothering.

 Anne with Mr. Jack. Behind her, Carl is busy peeing. Haha

Max and Carl shared a slice of liver cake. 

Here we are with the Chef, Giannina. Congratulations Giannina! So happy for you! 

 There’s a small garden for dogs to pee on. Don’t you just love that dog house that houses the air conditioner? 

Whole Pet Kitchen is located near Cafe Ysabel in San Juan. From P. Guevarra, turn left after Cafe Ysabel. WPK is shortly on the right. 


Giannina, I just wanted to say that you are a huge blessing to all the dogs and cats and their hoomans because you created a space for them to be able to enjoy a meal together, and to bask in each others’ love. It sounds cheezy, I know, but I know that dog lovers know what I’m talking about. We love being with our furbabies and wish that we could spend more time with them. We love to treat them to yummy chomps and make them happy. I love that now, I can order and eat my food and do the same for Maxi. Because of this idea, you gave us a very precious gift, Giannina. Thank you soooo much.



Joining the Bandwagon: 2013 Year-End Report

I don’t like writing year-end reports because I have not had a good year in a long time.
This year was different. First, I came to have a personal relationship with God in a way that I’ve never had.
Little did I know that all the events that transpired, starting from my struggle when Clyde fell ill, was to lead to something so great. 

This year was full of surprises. I met and became close to two people at the start of the year. I was excited and happy and full of anticipation for things to come. Then things went awry and all of sudden, the happiness turned into depression that led me to a really dark place. It was a twisted, shady time filled with lies and drama. 
 
Another surprise was where that dark place would lead me.  That was to follow Christ fervently. I learned that disobedience to His will makes life hell. And obedience just made everything a bed of roses, even when things weren’t so great. The grace of God can pull you through even the toughest of times. When I obeyed and let go of things and people that were not healthy for me, everything fell into place. 
This year was a year of prayers answered. Prayers I’ve been whispering to Him for years. Except that I was always too stubborn to let His plans come into fruition. After all, how can He give you something new when your hands are too full grasping something else?
In my first out of the country trip since the US, God opened my eyes to and released me from the stronghold of my stubbornness. 

 While in Singapore – the first of two trips that opened my eyes to the beauty and magic of traveling to a foreign land, I came upon Luke 6:46-49. 

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

I also learned that our loving God also grants wishes I didn’t even know I had. Singapore and Japan strengthened my friendships to two of the most beautiful people I know – M and C. It bonded us in a way that we never did before. 
Then a pleasant surprise in the form a new friendship found on the flight home from Japan. That’s you, J. God also blessed me with my wonderful sisters in Christ, M and M. I love you guys sooooo muchos muchos. 
And A., who gave me the honor of leading her in One2One. 
I went back to school, something I’ve been wanting to do some time in my lifetime, but was never motivated to do so. I also didn’t know what I wanted to take up. But God faithfully answered my prayer even when I wasn’t praying for it. And when He revealed the answer to me, it was unquestionably right and perfect. I don’t even know why I never considered taking up Social Work before. That’s how I know it was all God’s leading. It had His signature all over it. 
Then, I opened my heart to the spirit of Christmas. Aside from not wanting to be home because Christmas was the day Clyde died, I’d wanted so desperately to go to Tacloban to help the victims of supertyphoon Yolanda. My heart was crying out for it. But, every opportunity led to closed doors. He had other plans for me. So, I finally relented and stayed home. And had the most amazing time with balikbayan cousins G and M., and spending time with my sister, bro and Dad more than we’ve ever had before.
Witnessing the wedding of C to my cousin, V. Then, catching up with a friend I have not seen in a long time, M. My college barkada and I also held a small but hilarious reunion the night after. 
This year, I lost a lot. But I gained invaluably. This was a year of learning to let go, respecting myself for the first time, meeting wonderful new friends. 
This year, I learned my true worth as a daughter, a princess to my Father. I learned how to love people. To forgive. To be kind. To be selfless. To be blessed and to be a blessing to others. 
Mostly, this was a year of truly getting to know the Lord. I have to give due credit to my best friend, who really shook some sense into me. She taught me to turn to the Lord first, above all else. Not your family, not your friends, but our Heavenly Father. Utter dependence on Him. Because of that, my relationship with the Lord blossomed beautifully. Thank you bestie R for introducing me to the Lord, for enduring years of my insanity, and for leading me time and time again to Him. He saved a soul through you. 
“I don’t like writing year-end reports because I have not had a good year in a long time.” That’s how I began my blog. I have to retract that. I didn’t like writing year-end reports because I didn’t have a personal relationship with God and didn’t see that even bad years were good years. But walking with Him, following Christ, I see how delightful life is. Yesterday, Sunday, at praise and worship, my eyes welled up with tears for what I thought was no reason. Then, I felt my heart swell and threaten to burst with overflowing joy and happiness. My God’s love is uncontainable, indescribable. Simply glorious. And with this, I am ecstatic for 2014. For the promises God has for me, yes, but mostly, for the opportunity to love Him and serve Him more and the best that I can. 
I bid you, adieu, 2013. Hello, 2014. I lovingly open my arms to you with wondrous anticipation. 

Touring Tokyo (San)

It’s a brand new day! I woke up early again, while C was still snoozing. While waiting for her to wake up, had these delicioso donuts for brekky! I looooove this slightly cinnamon tasting white one. The green tea was good too. Found some cinnamon ones here in the Philippines but it was a little soggy. The Japanese version was firmer but still soft and moist.  

 

On the way to the train station to go to Odaiba. Just looking at this photo gets me feeling the nice cool Japan air.
 Cool train station has this view.

This day, Saturday, we were on our way to Odaiba to hang out with FN, a friend who is stationed in Japan (he’s in the US Navy) and his friend G. We ate at a buffet called Decks in Odaiba (I had to check Instagram for the name. I’m so bad at remembering these places that I made it a point to ask C about them while uploading them on IG and using this as my reference.

 

It was raining and cold, just the way I like it, as we made our way over to see the giant Gundam figure. I heard it’s best to visit at night because Gundam tells his story and even moves his head. Took a couple of snaps…

 

And then C and I went shopping a bit at H&M (tops for Php350) and Old Navy (shirts for Php300-500) while the boys waited somewhere and bored themselves to death (haha, sorry bro). Then headed on over to check out Roponggi.

 Where we decided to get some sushi, ordered chirashidon, and FN ordered salmon wings (whuuuuut)

…and FN and I showed G how to suck a shrimp head (proudly pinoy, woot!) Sorry, the photo of FN was blurry. I had to sneak it in because he didn’t want his photo taken.

The bathrooms in Japan confused me BIG TIME. Too many buttons and the flushes were in different places sometimes. For example, this bathroom had three basins/bowls. Which is for which?!

There are two sinks, for goodness’ sake. In all the Japanese bathrooms, there’s this button which, when pressed, makes the sound of flushing. I asked C what it was for and she says it’s for privacy. Since the Japanese are very shy, they don’t like it when others hear their pee tinkling. So they can press the button and tinker in peace. I found that a little odd, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

Here’s another quirky fact about Japan. Some clubs are not licensed for people to dance in. The place where we went to, called Green Land, was one of those clubs. Hamming it up for the cam, me, FN, C, and G. To get in, you must pay Y1000 or Php 500 or USD10. Not bad, since drinks are unlimited until 11pm. Because the train service usually ends at 11pm, people are usually done well before 11pm or stay out till the wee hours of the morning, until the train stations begin operations again. Whew. I can’t even imagine partying all night anymore. Oldie problems. Haha.So anyway, this bar was a “No Dancing” bar. C said that in some places, the bouncers and servers will really go up to you and ask you to stop dancing. But in this bar, I guess they were a little lax, because we were groovin’ and no one made us stop. But then again, it wasn’t like we were bumpin and grinding or freakin or anything like that. We were kind of just bouncing around where we stood.

Now, I am not a drinker, so I thought my money would go to waste in this place, but I managed to down two glasses of Shandy Gaff, a really tasty kind of beer that tasted like Cali Shandy or ginger ale. If they sold this here in the Philippines, I would be drinking this all the time.

Me with FN. Last time I saw him was in March so I was happy he was able to come out and hang with us.

On the way home, C and I were hamming it up for the camera at the train station.

But, before we head home, we hit Dean & Deluca, which only has a few branches out of New York, I believe. This is not researched fact but a slightly educated but mostly wild guess. I loved the place! So many other things to sift through (pastries, bread, merchandise), and the cappuccino was legit.

Love the Tamachi train station, which is very near our “home”.

And yes, before we hit the sack, I needed to have an onigiri midnight snack. No wonder I gained weight while in Japan.

Touring Tokyo (Ni)

On my second day in Tokyo (well, technically, first, because I’d arrived at 10pm the night before), I had to discover the country on my own because C still had a full day’s work ahead of her. So I took the photos I stored on my phone the night before and headed out.
We stayed Sotetsu Fresa Inn in Tamachi, a block away from the train station. Like I said in a previous post, walking to and from home was something I looked forward to every day. There was something about the cool breeze, the beautiful bright sunshine, the existence of an actual sidewalk, the lack of pollution and the beautiful sights that really drew me in.
 They say that Tokyo has the most complicated metro rail system in the world. But that day, I was only taking one line so I didn’t really feel it. The rest of the trip, I let C and FN sweat over the directions. C has been living there six months and she still needed her Google to help find her way. I guess it’s the same as it is here. I’ve lived here over a decade and I still get lost. One thing I didn’t like about the trip was that it was so nice and cold outside, but they went and heated up the trains and the establishments. So I constantly had to take off and put on my jacket and scarf when deemed fit.
 Cute mommy and daughter dates.
 Where was I headed? To Ueno, of course! It’s kind of like the Divisoria of Tokyo, only C said that everything was legit (no fake or knock-offs), cleaner, and not stinky at all. What I really loved about the Japanese is that they are soooo friendly and polite. Some words I definitely put to good use were:
Sumimasen – Excuse Me/Sorry
Gomenasai – Sorry
Ikura desu ka? – How much?
Arigatou gozaimasu – Thank you
Ohayou gozaimasu – Good morning
Konnichi wa – Good day
Konban wa – Good evening
 My most favorite store was this precious find just beyond the block where the slot machines are. It’s called the Garakuta Boeki. There were so many kawaii (cute) trinkets like cow-themed bottle openers, funky figurines, panda robes, and all sorts of random cuteness.
 There were also all sorts of clothes.
 I just went up and down, up down for like 8 whole hours, trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything. And sure, enough, there were some stores that I didn’t notice the first time around and realized were must-gos.
 Look at this cute panda bus!
 I was weaving in and out of the indoor bazaar, wondering where I would eat and how to tackle the language barrier, when I came out of an alley and stumbled upon this:
 Sort of like a carenderia or sidewalk food stalls, this was just on the side of the street. I saw sashimi and immediately fell in line.
 The man takes your order and gives you a waiting number.
 I take a seat and wait for my food.
 While you wait, you’re free to help yourself to unlimited cold tea. It’s a good thing I knew how to count in Japanese because someone came out and yelled out, “Juu san hachi!”. If I hadn’t know that that was 38, he would’ve stood there trying to figure out who the order belonged to. I ordered the salmon and maki chirashidon. And although it doesn’t look so great here, it was sublime! It tasted so sweet and flavourful that I barely even needed the soy sauce. And the rice! Oh, the rice! It was so nice and round and had the perfect level of sweet and sour (sushi rice is made with rice vinegar and sugar and a dash of salt).
 After which, I walked around some more and visited more shops. One of which was of this cute little store that sold authentic Japanese items like the head band that the karate kid wore in the Karate Kid, kimonos, geta (traditional Japanese slippers), oriental-themed wallets, and even a cute earwax remover with a little charm dangling from the end. I went back to that store twice, because I was trying to stop myself from buying too much stuff, but ended up wanting to buy it anyway.Here’s a snap of the entrance, and a landmark for readers’ perusal, in case anyone wants to check it out.
Towards the front of the whole area, there was a department store with a Gap and The Loft. The Loft is the place to go for all sorts of funky and kawaii trinkets, as the Japanese are known for. I think I may have spent an hour there, and then another hour at an area towards the back of The Loft, which was filled with anime, San Rio products and other totally random stuff. I even found this clip-on mustache things for my sister, who loves mustaches. She can clip them onto her shoes to give them a bit of an oomph. 
Then, it was time to shop for me!!! I went to The Gap not expecting much because The Gap is soooo expensive here, although I know it’s fairly affordable in the States. There were people shaking boxes with holes at me, and I ignored them because I was too tired to try and converse with them by this time. So I went and made a bee-line for the clearance racks and found this top for only Php500. I went to Japan at a perfect time because they were just entering the fall season and getting rid of summer wear. When I lined up to pay for these, the man at the cashier asked if I was able to grab a discount coupon. Turns out, those were the things the staff was shaking at me when I first entered the store. You could grab a coupon for 10, 20 or 50 off. I got the 50% off coupon! So I ended up taking this baby home for only Php250! What a steal. 
Oh, a funny experience was that at the fitting room, the staff handed me this white cloth. Perplexed, I was like, “What’s this for?” To which he replied, “Put over your face.”. Ahhh! So as not to stain the clothes with my makeup. Ingenious!
 By the time 4pm hit, I was so exhausted and my feet were just battered. So, I sat down and had a cold drink even if it was freezing outside. I could’ve opted for something else, but we don’t have Baskin Robbins in the Philippines so i had to take advantage!
 Iced coffee something to perk me up and energize me.

Pitting my Singapore pensive photo (right) alongside this one. My view was better in Singapore. Couldn’t find any parks in Ueno this day. Only to find out during my flight home that there was a pretty suuweet one nearby.  Night is falling and yet, I’m still in the Ueno marketplace! I tried walking to Akihabara, Tokyo’s gadget central, but I kept getting this feeling that I should walk around the market some more.

 Just when I didn’t think I could possibly find anything else, I chanced upon this tea store!!!
Here’s a land mark in case you want to find it.
 This is where I found my lovely sakura spoon.

The kind owner kept offering different kinds of tea for taste testing that by the time I walked away, I was literally all jittery from the caffeine. Those tea variants are strong! I bought genmaisha (rice tea), which was soooo divine and fragrant, and green tea for my dad. I felt like the real deal, sipping tea from a cup nestled in both my hands.
Passed by this cute panda while browsing.
It was only 5-something and it was already so dark. At this point I needed to refuel to gain some strength for the long night ahead. When in Japan, your go to snack is an onigiri. This wonderful little triangle snack is packed with rice wrapped in nori, with different filling choices. It can be bought at basically any convenience store. I heard that they have this in the Family Mart here and I hope the rumor is true!

 One thing that I didn’t enjoy though, were these men. I believe they were Afrikaans, based on their accents. I’m not racist or anything – I actually love black men – but these were so aggressive, going as far as grasping your arm as you pass by. I think they were trying to sell me something. If you smile at them, like I do to everyone when I’m in a different country, it encourages them and they get aggressive. So there came a point when I would literally feel my heart pound every time I’d see one of them. I’d resorted to keeping my eyes downcast and pretending to be busy on my phone. I finally decided to leave Ueno and meet C at Ginza. 
I thought it’d be important to note how everyone is so dressed up in Japan. I love how everyone still wears suits and ties there. And how the ladies are so fashionable and well-groomed.
I now have photos of myself because C was there to take it.
 H&M baby! Because they were transitioning into colder wear, they had so many sleeveless shirts on sale! Php 44 to 350 baybeh!
 I’m obviously a huge H&M fan.Oh, and something else I noticed, humility aside, the climate did wonders for my skin. I was just telling my best friend that I felt that I looked fresher, even if I didn’t really do anything different from when I was in the Philippines. I was just as sleep-deprived as I was in the Philippines.
The apple store in Ginza looks so sleek!
 Walking blocks and blocks to find dinner.
 Finally we settled on this resto pub somewhere I don’t remember, grab some Japanese beer, which I did not enjoy, and some ramen, which C did not think was good. But, it was better tasting to my buds than the ramen here, and that’s saying  alot because I ain’t a ramen fan.
 Seared tuna and salmon and octopus or squid or something. Portions were too small for the price.
I liked the ramen’s funky taste. C tells me it wasn’t good at all. 
 C treats me to some desert we bought at the convenience store at the corner where our hotel ws located. C is helping me carry the loads of stuff I bought. I can still remember to this day the way that the biting cold would nip at my cheeks. I miss it so!!
 And so, with painful feet and happy tummies, we trek back to our beautifully lit hotel.
 Great choice C!
P.S. I find it fitting that I’m posting this Friday night adventure exactly a week after. Oh how I wish I were still in Japan.